Bear question from the lower 48- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Bear question from the lower 48

    Hello from Colorado's Front Range.

    Was peeking through several threads in this forum. Looks like some spectacular riding up there. I was surprised to see the Kodiak thread showing pic's of rideable trails this time of year. I'll report that we seem to be having an unusually warm start to the winter season as several trails around here are dry and dusty... nearly late-spring-like conditions.

    So, curiosity compels me to ask... What do you folks do about bears? I mean, you have a few more of the larger varieties up there and I would guess that they're probably much more prevalent and encounters much more frequent than what I've ever experienced (which has been all of two sightings in nearly 20+ years of riding the wild places of the western US)?

    I generally have several encounters with deer during the season in some of the more remote trail systems. My favorite are where I'll come screaming down a section of singletrack, zip around a tight corner and there's several hundred pounds of deer right in the middle of the trail. We're both generally scared shitless until my brain processes the fact that it's a deer, and the deer... well, they usually bound off a few yards and continue on with doing deer-type stuff.

    I'm not exactly sure what I'd do in the same scenario with a black, brown or Kodiak bear in place of the deer example above.

    Anyway, thanks for entertaining my question. I look forward to hearing from a few of you.

  2. #2
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    our deer weigh 1500 pounds and are dumber than anything... many more moose encounters than bear encounters. this is my first year up here, and i thankfully haven't had a bear encounter yet. back in nj i used to come upon black bear all the time, and they would simply tuck their stubby little tail and run. up here, they apparently can be quite abit more aggressive. most carry bear spray(pepper spray), some carry firearms. i don't think too many of us have had to use either though. when riding in the summer, we are alot more vocal on the trails. either ringing bells or making verbal noises when approaching tall bushes/grasses or rounding bends.

  3. #3
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    AK bears

    Avoid riding next to salmon spawning streams late at night.

    Make Noise.

    If you see a bear, make more noise.

    Carry pepper spray to make yourself feel better. Lots of people carry it, I still haven't met anyone who needed to use it to avoid being eaten. It makes me feel better, but I only carry it if I'm by myself.

    Bears run away 99/100 times you'll run into them. We had an unusual year this year where several encounters led to attacks. A very popular trail runs parallel to a very popular bear feeding stream. Unfortunately, a few people were chased, and chewed on. You might think people would either stop using the trail by themselves, or make way more noise. I avoided this particular trail.

    I run into bears every summer. This summer, even with all the attacks, I only saw 2 brown bears (the kind doing the maulings) and they were quick to leave when they saw me.

    Wolves in the winter on the other hand are more scary than the bears honestly. Mostly I don't want them to eat my dogs.

    BY THE WAY Anchorage people. I was riding a rented pugsley (very cool bike) on the tank trail with my dogs at 10:30 Friday night and there by the dome trail 15 or so wolves were hovering around. All but 1 of them ran into the woods when they saw us. I had my dogs with me. They are still with me, but that was spooky man.

  4. #4
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    ^^what he said^^

    Next week I am going to start to live-trap those wolves to get some gps collars out on them. I didn't think that pack was that big - I bet it was spooky!

  5. #5
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    Are you??

    The dude I saw with the wolverine?

    I think you are.

    I was the guy who saw the wolf before I saw you guys. If you are in fact, the guy.

  6. #6
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    That was me - how did your pics come out??

  7. #7
    is buachail foighneach me
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    you have a wolverine valhalla?!? sweet!

  8. #8
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    yeah, that's why I had to sell off all of that bike gear - to keep that furry little focker fed!

  9. #9
    No, that's not phonetic
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    It's mostly a matter of earning their respect.

    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the reply's. That bear spray sounds like a good way to go. I certainly like to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, but I've always been wary of carrying when riding.

    I wonder if that bear spray would work well for mountain lions? I have more of a concern running into them than bears here in Colorado.

    Happy Trails to all of you in Alaska.

  11. #11
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    Okay

    Pics were alright. I didn't take a ton because it was so cool seeing it there. I took digital camera quality video of his drunken run after waking up. That was cool.

    Those wolves were hanging out by the red sign another one of your people said he put on a tree. It said "Moose kill, don't go here on foot." I couldn't get the pugs back there, but would riding that in be okay. It wouldn't be on foot.

    I'd be more scared of Mt. Lions too. 4 years ago we saw one on Resurrection heading into Hope. He walked off the trail once he saw us and disappeared. My friend Brian is from Colorado, and he said we should walk our bikes. After we walked past the spot we saw him,he walked back out onto the trail and continued toward Cooper. He could have f'd us up pretty bad.

    Maybe we should just stay inside.

  12. #12
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    You sure it was a mountain lion?? There is a huge debate on whether they are on this side of the Wrangells and the coastal range (if not now they will be sooner or later). That being said there have been reports in the AK Range and on the Kenai. Most likely it was a lynx (my wife and I saw a brown phase lynx in early spring on that same section of trail back in 2006) but they are different sizes and the mt lion has a full length tail. PM with the details that would be an awesome sighting.

    The moose kill (by hunters) signs are put up mostly because of bears. In general they should all be sleeping right now. They haven't shown up the cameras for a few weeks now but there is always an exception to the rule. However, if there is a large pack of wolves around, and they are they are the bold ones that like eating dogs off of leashes, not so sure I would head back there alone or with my dog.

  13. #13
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    Wolves?!

    Wow... I never even thought of that. So what's the plan if you and the wolves happen to have a meet-and-greet?

    I'm not sure if it's a "good thing" we don't have to worry about mountain lions AND bears AND wolves or if it's a sad testament to our encroachment on and mismanagement of our wild places and the animals that live there.

    I will say however, that it might be a coin toss between wolves and western diamondback rattlers. They may be small in comparison, but they really seemed to be hanging out on the rocks aside exposed, south-facing sections of singletrack this past season... right at about ankle level... I had my share of close calls this past season. I wonder if those Fox knee/shin guards have any warranty against rattler bites.

  14. #14
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    Yep dude..

    It was a Mt. Lion. I had my doubts too because I've never heard of them being here. He had real short, light brown coat, I could see the white on his face, and when he bounced back onto the trail he had some massive shoulders that you could see rise and fall as he walked. To boot, he had a long as$ tail. My buddy who lived in CO said it was a mt. lion and I thought he was full of it. Then I looked up pictures and profiles to be sure. Unless it was a steroid pumping lynx, or maybe the offspring of Mt. Lion/Lynx rape, it was a Mt. Lion.

    We were heading back from riding the soggy bottom course (not the race, just the course to train for the damn thing.) and it was on the way to Hope that we saw it. Maybe we were both hallucinating. I thought I saw a dinosaur on the race this year.

  15. #15
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    There's been mention of wolves in this thread, as if they are a threat to humans if I'm reading this right. Dogs yes but humans? Can you point me to an actual account of a wolf attacking a human in North America? t

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLampitt
    Wolves?!

    Wow... I never even thought of that. So what's the plan if you and the wolves happen to have a meet-and-greet?

    I'm not sure if it's a "good thing" we don't have to worry about mountain lions AND bears AND wolves or if it's a sad testament to our encroachment on and mismanagement of our wild places and the animals that live there.

    I will say however, that it might be a coin toss between wolves and western diamondback rattlers. They may be small in comparison, but they really seemed to be hanging out on the rocks aside exposed, south-facing sections of singletrack this past season... right at about ankle level... I had my share of close calls this past season. I wonder if those Fox knee/shin guards have any warranty against rattler bites.

    rattlesnakes are creepy everywhere. especially when you're in dense woods and you round a corner and start to here rattles(as in multiple rattlesnakes), and they're all completely hidden in the rocks and bushes.... no snakes in alaska though. or ticks. i'll trade frequent snake/tick encounters for an occasional bear encounter anyday.

  17. #17
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    Last time I rode Johnson's pass I had to use pepper spray on a charging Sasquatch. It worked all right just as the spray advertised. The problem was I was then out of spray and later in the day I was being chased by the pack of wolves while riding over salmon carcusus the **** really hit the fan. If you aim really well to the eyes and use 100% DEET it will stop a brown bear just long enough to pass and let the Wolves attack the bear instead. You know, it happens and you best be prepared for the worst...

  18. #18
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    We are not witnessing direct attacks on humans by wolves in southcentral, but aggressive, brazen, stalking and hunting of dogs with humans in tow. The incidents last year in Anchorage and Fairbanks (FAI has experienced dog hunting many times including back in the early nineties when there was another late/low snow year). The packs out on the military land showed cooperative hunting patterns including baiting the dogs away from their owners, trying to pull the dogs off leashes while attached to owners, and following the human/dogs all the way back to the trailhead.

    Here is an attack from North America:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewa...f-verdict.html

    Here is one from AK embedded in this interesting review: http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolf_attacks_on_humans.html

    And here is a very credible summary report detailing all human wolf encounters in NA up until about 2001 http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/...chb13_full.pdf

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait
    Last time I rode Johnson's pass I had to use pepper spray on a charging Sasquatch.
    Sasquatch...I betcha he was just after your jerky.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait
    Last time I rode Johnson's pass I had to use pepper spray on a charging Sasquatch. ...
    He must have heard about all that cookie dough you eat.

  21. #21
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    I meant to ask if there were any fatal attacks on adult humans, but the folks that got bit or chewed up might think that was a moot point. The report of the Canadian man getting killed by wolves would be the first fatal attack I've ever heard of. The other links submitted by Valhalla were good and I was surprised at the number of attacks. Still, considering how many wolf human encounters there are, the risk of being attacked is pretty slim. It's always bothered me that some people can't enjoy being in the woods because of their fear of bears. I had a Canadian fellow stay here for a couple of nights preparing to ride his bike up to the haul road and he was really afraid of wolves; it seemed to be his main concern about the trip. I've learned that when talking about feelings (as in fears), arguments about statistics, reasoning and the like don't have much strength. I guess that's why they call it "unreasoning fear." t

  22. #22
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    Yeah, too bad there is that long history of the big bad wolf dating back for centuries. I think it becomes ingrained into our subcionscoius. Think of all those children's stories Peter and the Wolf, Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Ho...oh wait that's a movie.

    I wouldn't be worried about wolves either except if I walking a dog in early winter along those tanks trails given the history. They have learned some behaviors that were triggered by really late snows last year. I wouldn't expect it to be the case this year with the sufficient hunter-killed moose carcasses and adequate snowfall. This is the time of year all of the individuals come together before dispersal with pups in tow (largest pack size of the year). As long as there is adequate snow and moose (which we certainly have in the front range) we should be good and they should be in their best condition by the end of winter.
    Last edited by Valhalla; 12-09-2008 at 04:04 PM.

  23. #23
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    Fo Sho..

    I was skinning up the dome trail last winter and came upon a moose killed by wolves. Wolf beds all around, wolf hair, tracks, scat all over the place. The carcass had been devoured and you could see the scrapings into the pelvic area of the moose. I would have kept going had it not been a day I took my dogs. I do carry pepper spray in the winter now. Just like in summer, I don't think I'll ever use it but it makes sense to carry it. Better to have it along and never use it than need it and not have it. Kind of like any gear you seldom use. Patch kit, pump, spoke wrench, condom. Better to have it just in case.

  24. #24
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    4 years ago we saw one on Resurrection heading into Hope.
    Is that the siting the Rio is always warning Soggy riders about? I always thought that was a ghost story.

    Anyway, when descending into Cooper on a training ride this summer, I heard a distinctly feline growl/scream, quite loud, from somwhere in the brush in the middle of one of those switchbacks. I was with GF so I made a very small deal of it and kept riding but was definitely wondering. If encountered lynx before and never heard them make any noise, let alone a noise like that. Hmmm....

  25. #25
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    On the upper Yukon a few years back in June we heard this crazy indefinable growling screech. Not really cat like - unlike anything I had ever heard. When we finally got up the nerve to go closer (which basically invovled grabbing the shotgun), two lynx dropped out of these cottonwoods and bolted away from us and moved down to the creek and we heard the same craziness again. Pretty wild - never heard a noise like that before (or again) and at the time, never knew lynx could climb trees.

  26. #26
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    Funny

    If that became legend. I'm sure I told him about it since it was a few weeks before the race that year. Oddly enough, I didn't worry about that Mt. Lion so much as I worried about finishing the race under 15 hours. Seems like riding around Resurrection pass after midnight in the dark by yourself begs for a mauling by something.

  27. #27
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    cakewalk907

    i use an air horn attached to the strap of my camelbak which i toot every so often to "announce" my presence to bears...they are the same kind that you use on boats ...the nice thing about this method is that it's right at my fingertips so i can toot it on the fly,it's a very loud and obnoxious sound so that any bears in the vicinty will hear it...my assumption is that the biggest bear danger is if you surprise them which can easily happen going fast and silent thru the woods...i have had numerous bear encounters...one last year when a blackie start running down the trail towards us...it all happened so quicly...seconds literally...i squared up to meet the bear and blew my horn...the bear veered off the trail and disappeared into the woods...the problem with carrying a gun is obvious...it's heavy and who the hell wants to carry a gun while you're biking? the issue with pepper spray is similar...it only comes into usefulness when the bear is a matter of feet away from you...I would rather scare them away before I even see them...also, I have a friend who inadvetently sprayed himself with the bear spray,...he said it was the worst experience of his life...conclusion: AIR HORN!!

  28. #28
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    I think you nailed it right on the head - make lots of noise. Reaction time for both a surprised bear and the rider may not even be enough to pull spray, a gun, or to shoot em. I carry spray on local rides and a gun on more remote rides but the danger is it gives you a false sense of security and you inevitable let your guard down by maybe not making much noise etc. My strategy is like yours announce your humanness before you or the bear even see each other. Air horn is really effective in chasing bears off - does it last for a multi hour ride? I have seen the ones your pump up with an air pump but they dont last very long.

  29. #29
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    Puma

    I rode the Res Trail 6 weeks after Mark saw the puma and I was about 8 miles into the ride and spotted the cat cruising along and about 30 yards away from me- it was really long !




    Quote Originally Posted by SkiMonkee
    Is that the siting the Rio is always warning Soggy riders about? I always thought that was a ghost story.

    Anyway, when descending into Cooper on a training ride this summer, I heard a distinctly feline growl/scream, quite loud, from somwhere in the brush in the middle of one of those switchbacks. I was with GF so I made a very small deal of it and kept riding but was definitely wondering. If encountered lynx before and never heard them make any noise, let alone a noise like that. Hmmm....

  30. #30
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    don't use the pump up kind...buy the kind with the replacable compressed canister...it's about the size if a beer can...the horn part screws onto the can...it's a boating thing

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